Spraying disinfectants outside or across broad spaces indoors to try to kill coronavirus can do more harm than good, the World Health Organization advised Saturday.
And spraying people is a really bad idea, WHO said in an updated advisory on infection control.
WHO cited studies showing that trying to spray bleach or other chemicals over a wide area is ineffective. The same goes for ultraviolet light disinfecting, the agency said.
“Moreover, spraying disinfectants can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation and the resulting health effects,” WHO said. “Spraying or fogging of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium compounds, is not recommended due to adverse health effects on workers in facilities where these methods have been utilized."
Some governments have fogged streets and some groups have been washing down sidewalks, but WHO said it’s probably a waste of effort.
“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces,” the agency said.